The Value Of Tours In The Post-Pandemic Environment

At the end of 2019, Jeremy Reynolds wrote an article for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that examined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) European tour at that time. Fast forward to 2022 and the PSO is heading back out on a nine-city European tour and Reynolds is along for the ride and processing everything from this new vantage point.

He sets up what will be a series of tour articles by asking questions about what makes touring worthwhile and whether or not the pandemic has changed traditional valuations.

I’m very curious to see how the articles unfold. Regular readers already know that I have what might be best defined as free from pretense. I do believe tours have value, but I also acknowledge that traditional methods to measure that value aren’t as quantifiable as they should be. Nutshell: how much does navel-gazing influence the valuation process.

The first article in Reynolds’ series includes perspective from sources that, perhaps unsurprisingly, find a great deal of value in touring and you’ll hear their reasons why. While there are no surprises here, I’m interested to see if the series provides juxtaposition to any of those views and/or attempts to find real-time examples that not only support or refute but identify ways the pandemic may being changing those benchmarks.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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